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Stellar finalists receive guidance from Ball State University and OCRA; two in Hancock County

The six finalist regions in the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs Stellar Communities Program have completed the next step in the process by meeting with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute.

The finalists include:

  • A Region Plus — comprised of the cities of Vincennes and Bicknell and Knox Count
  • Health and Heritage Region — comprised of the city of Greenfield and the town of Fortville
  • Eastern Indiana — comprised of the cities of Richmond, Rushville and Union City, and Randolph County
  • Marshall County Crossroads – comprised of Marshall County leaders and leadership from the towns of Argos, Bremen, Bourbon, Culver, LaPaz and Plymouth
  • Mt. Comfort Road Corridor – comprised of the towns of Cumberland, McCordsville and New Palestine
  • New Allen Alliance – comprised of Allen County, the town of Grabill, Leo-Cedarville and Monroeville and the cities of New Haven and Woodburn

“We enhanced the regional perspective of the Stellar Communities Program by creating a partnership with Ball State University. The Indiana Communities Institute provided essential data and guided the regions through exercises to assist with aligning their projects, further advancing their regional development plans,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA.

These meetings were built upon three areas of focus:

  • Providing regional data including information on education, population and economic indicators;
  • Project prioritization based on community survey responses;  and
  • Value added asset mapping discussions.

The data that was provided included regional population and ages of residents, education, average income, poverty levels, employment and other information about each area.

Golden said with the information provided, each region can form better decisions on how to lead their communities forward. These meetings, which were open to the public, involved local leadership, elected officials, economic development professionals, city planners, education leadership and recreation officers.

"When the state needed a partner to provide the data to help guide the region’s Stellar projects and ideas, the team at Ball State was ready and eager for the challenge,” said Dave Terrell, Indiana Communities Institute Director of Economic Development Policy. “We hope these community leaders have a deeper understanding of the region, their needs and opportunities. The Indiana Communities Institute is proud to be a partner in this initiative.”

Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment initiative led by OCRA, which is overseen by Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. The program works with communities to develop their strategic community investment plans, promote local and regional partnerships and implement comprehensive solutions to challenges facing Indiana’s rural communities.

Through the annual designation, the Stellar Communities Program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements by utilizing previous planning efforts, leveraging existing assets, fostering regional investments and stimulating continued growth. Visit in.gov/ocra/stellar for more information.

Each finalist region will receive a planning grant to build upon the initial regional plans. Final Regional Development Plans are due by September 21, 2018.

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